“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
“Why did you choose to volunteer in a reserve for an entire month? What is it about safari’s that you love so much, once you see all the animals aren’t you done? After a while isn’t it like boring?” Are some questions I face about my time at Thanda Game Reserve with African Impact. Let me take you on a little journey of love, lust, deceit, drama and power, which hopefully puts these questions to rest *forever*.
Once upon a time in a forest land, somewhere amongst the acacia trees, in the Kwazulu Natal province was a savannah of the name Thanda. Folklore goes, that long ago there lived a king Moby♂ who established a kingdom across the vast grasslands of Thanda & Mduna. He was much loved by the natives, and was compared to the great king Mufasa of the neighbouring kingdom. After a few years, as is the natural progression in most imperial rules, he handed over his throne to a handsome and able heir, Tyela♂ (below).
Tyela was strong and principled, tried to be just to his family and his subjects. He was extremely content, and hence when Thanda and Mduna split up, Tyela was very happy becoming the king of the North. He settled down with his four lionesses – Nala♀, Naomi♀, Nikita♀ and Narnia♀. They slowly began to establish their reign across Thanda, aptly named, The Pride of Thanda. As time went by, Tyela began a family by having four healthy cubs with Nala namely Nora♀, Nina♀, Nyka♀ and Nico♂. Although he was royal and stern externally, fatherhood brought out a soft and caring interior in Tyela. Despite the fact that one day Nico might threaten Tyela’s life and drive him out of the pride, Tyela had a strong paternal instinct and he fondly groomed and mentored him. It was as if, he knew the times that would befall his family.
One dark cloudy night, Nico and Nina were with their mother Nala and aunt/grandma (yes this messed up lion dynamics is a topic for another day) Narnia, learning the skills of hunting. While Tyela with his royal laziness sprawled across a fresh green grassy patch. Quite suddenly, from the corner of his eye he saw a strong and fierce lion with a gorgeous dark mane approaching aggressively towards him. He had smelt the threat for a few days, but now that he saw him, he knew that an invader has arrived.
Meet Skondla Kondla, weighing over 500 pounds, specially brought in from East Africa to strengthen the gene pool and take over Thanda Game Reserve. Skondla Kondla’s cold stare and shear size began pushing Tyela into submission. It was as if the current president of the United States found out that Obama was running for office again. Tyela tried scratchy attempts to protest and defend himself, but he ended up with a deformed face and a bruised eye (below). In an instant all that he had built and all that he had dreamed off was gone, his life as he knew it was now being lived by King Skondla.
Skondla was the new king and the lionesses now became his lionesses. He roared with glory, announcing his arrival and as his first agenda he was to get rid of all evidence of Tyela, which meant marking territory and killing the cubs. However, that night the cubs never came back to the den after their little hunting lesson. Nala and Narnia returned, but Nora, Nina, Nyka and Nico had escaped. Skondla did become king, and he did establish his supremacy over the incumbent, but did he have the support of the lionesses? Will his dark and dense mane be enough to charm the ladies or will he need to resort to brute force?
to be continued…